Mental health

Our research stream recognises that mental and physical health are intricately connected and there can be no health without mental health. Individuals with mental health conditions experience poorer physical health. Additionally, individuals with chronic health conditions often experience characteristic mental health challenges. We are working to advance knowledge about the complex bidirectional pathways between mental and physical health, and to develop improved, tailored interventions. Areas of focus include stress, diet, endocrine and cardiometabolic functioning, obesogenic environments, recovery from mental illness, women’s health and the mental and physical health impacts of COVID-19. Additionally, the stressful nature of training and working as a health professional is increasingly recognised. Our research also focusses on identifying stressors and developing curriculum and professional practice models for health professionals and students.

Theme Leader: Dr Sue Thomas (School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences)


Areas of research

Example projects

HIRC researchers

Relationships between physical and mental health

Mood, food and biomarkers: Longitudinal study of factors predicting weight gain and chronic disease risk in major depressive disorder.

Dr Sue Thomas

Prof Karen Charlton

Prof Karen Walton

Recovery from mental illness

Recovery Camp; person-centred, recovery-focused & trauma informed psychosocial intervention for individuals with a lived experience of mental illness. Self Determination theory lens

Prof Lorna Moxham

Diet and mental health

The impact of diet on mental health symptoms in multiple sclerosis.


A/Prof Yasmine Probst


Nutritional advice in management of mood disorders by GPs and psychologists

Dr Karen Fildes

Dr Jess Nealon

Weight management

Non-diet/ non-restrictive approaches to weight management

A/Prof Yasmine Probst Melissa Eaton


COVID-19 health impacts



Investigating the impact of COVID-19 on postpartum mental health, wellbeing and lifestyle behaviours


Dr Monique Francois

Hannah Christie, PhD






Anxiety and depression among health care workers during COVID-19


Prof Lorna Moxham

Prof Ritin Fernandez


Impact of COVID-19 on mental and physical wellbeing.

Dr Sue Thomas

Postpartum health

Developing a community engagement program to improve mental health and health behaviours in postpartum mums: Beyond the Bump


Dr Monique Francois


Health professional student wellbeing

Supportive supervision and curriculum models. Mental and physical wellbeing of students.

A/Prof Rowena Ivers

Dr Sue Thomas

Mental health in chronic kidney disease

Mental health in chronic kidney disease

Dr Kelly Lambert

Dr Sue Thomas

Student Learning in Mental Health Settings

Work Integrated Learning

Clinical confidence

Clinical competence

Attitudinal change & Stigma

Clinical Facilitation

Knowledge Transfer

Influence on career choice

Prof Lorna Moxham

Mental health services and professional practice

Safety culture and mental health care.

Dr Luke Molloy